June 11, 2019 8:28 pm

Quebec immigration minister defines ‘religious symbol’ in proposed amendment to Bill 21

Quebec government House Leader and Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness, Simon Jolin-Barrette responds to the Opposition, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at the legislature in Quebec City.

Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government has made an about-face by providing a definition for “religious symbol” in its secularism bill.

Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette has repeatedly refused to define what he meant by religious symbols, which is at the heart of the controversial Bill 21, despite pressure from the opposition.

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Jolin-Barrette tabled an amendment to the bill Tuesday evening in the National Assembly, which specifically seeks to outline what religious garb public-sector employees in positions of authority will be prohibited from wearing at work.

The wording of the amendment to Article 6 states, “any object, including a garment, a symbol, a jewel, an adornment, an accessory or a headdress” will be considered as a religious symbol, if it is worn “in connection with religious belief or belief “or “reasonably considered to refer to religious affiliation.”

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The change makes no mention of the size of religious symbols. Under the proposed legislation, civil servants in positions of authority would be prohibited from wearing religious symbols of all sizes while at work.

— With files from Global News’ Kalina Laframboise

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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